Daniels ducks GOP
dance; Rupert enters the 2012 fray
In May, Gov. Mitch Daniels
Mitch Danielsspurned his suitors and snubbed the opportunity to make a run
for the nation's highest office. Perhaps it was a hard decision, but now
Daniels is probably relieved not to have to associate with the current circus
as his grand old party colleagues unleash the
desperate effort to garner the Republican nomination for president. Their
counterparts within the Indiana General Assembly
General Assemblyand the state's regulatory network, however, probably have
enough cooked up to keep him busy until his term in complete.
Meanwhile, beloved local personality Rupert Boneham
Boneham, an advocate for disadvantaged youth and
a star from the reality TV show "Survivor," entered the 2012 governor's
race as a Libertarian. Republicans currently jockeying for position include Congressman Mike Pence
Mike Penceand former Hamilton County Councilman Jim Wallace. Democrats
squaring off for the party nod include former Indiana House Speaker John Gregg
House Speaker John Greggand landscaping contractor Thomas Lenfert.
The Indiana Democratic Party has also spent much of the year
sending out missives nearly every day aimed at undercutting support for U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar
Sen. Dick Lugar, the Republican who, as Indiana's longest-serving member of
Congress, was first elected to the Senate in 1976. If the Dems can help Mr. Tea
Party Richard Mourdock unseat Lugar in May's primary, their chances of stealing
the seat increase.
The rancor of the attacks has faded in recent days, however,
as the state Democratic party congratulated Lugar for
voting to pass a temporary extension of the payroll tax cut. The love did not
extend to Pence and his Republican counterparts in the U.S. House for blocking
the tax-cut extension. The wonders of Washington did pull through at the last
minute, however, and on Dec. 23 the House agreed to the extension.
Legislators gone wild
Rep. Phil Hinkle
Phil Hinklemight support a constitutional ban against gay marriage, but
apparently Craigslist paid hook-ups with 18-year-old dudes are perfectly
acceptable in his book.
In August, the prominent 64-year-old conservative lawmaker
— "an in-shape married professional ... (who loves) getting and
staying naked," according to an email he wrote to the young man —
answered a Craigslist ad posted by Kameryn Gibson and offered him $80 "for
services rendered and if real satisfied, a healthy tip."
Things allegedly fell apart after Gibson discovered who
Hinkle was. Gibson alleges he attempted to leave the downtown Marriott hotel
room, but Hinkle stopped him. At that point, Gibson called his sister, who
threatened to go to the police and the media. Hinkle called the incident a
shakedown, claiming Gibson stole his BlackBerry,
an iPad and $100. Gibson and his sister allege Hinkle gave the electronic
devices and cash to them to keep the incident quiet.
Hinkle denies he's gay, but couldn't say why he set up the
attempted tryst in the first place. As with every politician who has been
caught with his pants down, Hinkle told reporters he was seeking "professional
help" to understand why he did what he did — namely answer a
homosexual casual encounters ad seeking a "suga
daddy," send multiple emails to the ad's teenage author, pick him up and
take him to a hotel room, and allegedly expose himself.
Hinkle has refused calls for him to resign, but won't seek
reelection in 2012.
In February, 70 members of the
Indiana House of Representatives — including Hinkle — voted to
amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage
gay marriage. The state senate approved the same measure the following
month. The ban will come before the two houses again in 2013, and if it passes
a second time, will go to Hoosier voters.
A few months later, the closet became too claustrophobic for
yet another lawmaker.
Former Indiana State Rep. Brian Hasler
Rep. Brian Hasler, D-Evansville, who thought he
had made a $160 deal for sex with a male prostitute, actually had landed a date
with Sgt. Jon Daggy of IMPD's vice unit. Instead of
escorting Hasler upstairs to a hotel room at the Omni, Daggy escorted him to
Perhaps Hinkle and Hasler can console each other. Too bad
the state's so hell bent on undermining gay marriage:
Hinkle-Hasler has a nice ring to it.
The Fights of Charlie
Indiana's top election official was charged with multiple
counts of voter fraud in March, but instead of resigning, Secretary of State Charlie White
of State Charlie Whitecame out swinging. And over the next nine months,
White, who defeated Democrat Vop Osili in the 2010 general
election, was charged with seven felonies, including voter fraud and theft.
Prosecutors allege that while White served on the Fishers Town Council, he was
living outside his district in a condo he purchased with his then-fianc´e, now
wife, Michelle Quigley-White. White claims he was living within his district
— in his ex-wife's home — at the time.
White is battling on several fronts — besides the
criminal charges in Hamilton County, Democrats filed a complaint with the state
election board, claiming he wasn't eligible for the 2010 election. After the bipartisan
board sided with White, Democrats filed suit in Marion County. Marion Circuit
Court Judge Louis Rosenberg ruled last Wednesday that White was not legally
registered to vote at the time he filed his candidacy and therefore was
ineligible to be on the ballot. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller
Attorney General Greg Zoellerappealed the
decision on behalf of the recount commission. The Indiana Supreme Court
Supreme Courtis expected to weigh in soon.
White has also battled his own party, including Daniels, who
suggested White step aside leading up to his January 2012 criminal trial, and Rokita, whom White criticized as a self-promoter.
Special prosecutors John Dowd and Dan Sigler sought similar
voter fraud charges against Quigley-White, but White leveled similar
accusations of his own, against Sigler and other prominent public figures,
including former Sen. Evan Bayh and his wife, Susan.
The respective county prosecutors declined to file charges or appoint their own
White's mother threatened to file suit against Hamilton
County, saying she was verbally abused by Sigler and his son
during White's grand jury hearing.